Where is the snow? 23rd Jan 2018
The storms over the last week were a lot more severe than the predictions suggested. Whilst I was caught in relentless drizzle navigating the buses due to tube and overground closures making my way up to Dalston, much of the Alps were forced into an unwanted isolation. With avalanche risks through the roof due to the heavy snowfall and unstable snow pack - a result of the fluctuating temperatures - many roads were deemed unsafe to navigate cutting off St Anton, Ischgl and many of the surrounding villages in particular.
30 roads were closed in total, trapping some in resort and leaving others stuck in airport towns such as Innsbruck unable to make it to resort in the first place. The only way out had been a late afternoon escorted bus service, which shows just how critical the situation was. The latest update from the emergency website is suggesting that many roads are now re-opened. Blue skies and diminishing winds have allowed helicopters to fly, check out the snow pack and launch controlling measures.
The official statement from St Anton:
Road L197 from Tirolerhof to junction S16 St. Jakob will be accessible from 1.30 pm today.
St. Anton am Arlberg is therefore accessible without further warnings.
Road L197 between St. Christoph am Arlberg and Alpe Rauz has been cleared and it is expected to be accessible in the afternoon.
So make sure you stay safe and certainly don't take any unnecessary risk both on the roads and on the mountain.
How's the rest of Europe looking?
Heavy snow and bad weather have forced many resorts to shut whilst they try to make pistes and access safe. However, there should be some respite in the next two days with the skies clearing and winds dropping. They'll be a top up of snow before the weekend but after that, the weather looks like it's improving. Fingers crossed we'll all get to ski some of this phenomenal snowfall in the foreseeable future.
Yesterday saw a lot of snowfall, 100cm was reported in St Johann and 55cm in Verbier (too much for the resort to cope with in fact). But it's not a shortage of snow France, Austria and Switzerland are worried about, but making it safe. Certainly, don't stray from the pistes whilst the avalanche risk remains record breakingly high.
Anything other than the border resorts in Italy has been largely bypassed by the worst of the weather. They've still had snow but nowhere near the quantities we've seen plague the Northern Alps at times. So Selva and Cortina topping the predicted snowfall charts in the next six days is a welcomed sight. There shouldn't be any of the complications we've seen in St Anton recently, just a 2 day downpour of the white stuff followed by blue skies and fantastic skiing over the weekend. The area is my favourite place to ski so I'll be extremely envious of all heading there in the upcoming few days.
The current conditions in pictures:
Some moving pictures for a Tuesday afternoon:
- Sean Pettit testing out the snow in Whistler
- Keeping with the snow dive theme, here's one from last week in Verbier
- A very pleasant tree run
- A spot of hot tub jumping
- Candide Thovex's latest plaything 'Ski the World' - though I feel it's lacking some snow
The storms look like they're easing off, there's still plenty of snow coming, just not to the ballooned scale of last week. By the weekend the skies should clear up and holidaymakers will be able to finally take full advantage of the record snowfalls. Just pay attention to the avalanche warnings and any local notices to stay safe on the mountain.
It looks like we're returning to more normal conditions, fingers crossed, but areas around the Sella Ronda, such as Selva Val Gardena, look like a good bet if you're looking to book in the next week or so.